Enjoy guys! Sorry about the irregularity of posting. Life is getting the better of me.
***THIS CHAPTER HAS A TRIGGER WARNING ATTACHED***
Chapter 1: The Truth
It felt like days before Langston forced herself off the wet ground and onto her knees. She stayed that way for a while, her fists clenched and hot tears streaming from her eyes. Finally, she forced herself to stand and fixed her dress as best she could. She noticed dried blood stains on her thighs and cried harder.
Langston didn’t know where she was going, but she followed the road. Someone had to drive by. Someone had to see how distressed and disheveled she appeared. Someone had to stop.
No one came though. Not a single car drove by. Not a single person noticed her walking along the road. No one was there to stop. The strain proved too much for her, and Langston collapsed onto the side of the road.
After what felt like an eternity, Langston’s eyes fluttered opened. Light flooded them. She shut them and reopened them slowly. When her eyes finally adjusted to the brightness, she looked around. She was in a hospital. Everything was in sterile white and blues and the place smelled of disinfectant and sickness. Thin hospital blankets were wrapped around her and she was wearing one of those flimsy, complicated gowns. She thought it was a waste since no one bothered to bathe her.
A doctor came in a few minutes later. Two other people, a younger woman and a middle-aged man, followed him. Plain clothed detectives. Even in regular clothes, they stuck out like sore thumbs. Langston knew their presence meant bad news.
“Welcome back to the waking world, miss. You’ve been unconscious for quite some time.” The doctor said with a smile. The detectives were as stony as statues.
“How long?” Langston asked.
“About a day and half. Is it okay if I examine you?”
Langston nodded and the doctor went about his work. He took her blood pressure and checked her heart and lungs. Afterwards he checked her pupils. Once he gave her the all clear, the female detective approached Langston’s hospital bed.
“Miss, do you remember what happened to you?” she asked.
“I had car trouble.” Langston replied.
“Car trouble?” The detective questioned.
“Yes, my car died and I went to go find a tow shop.”Langston replied coolly.
“Why didn’t you call AAA or a friend to help you?”
“I don’t have AAA and my phone died. So, I decided to walk to the nearest tow shop. I must have gotten turned around and dehydrated and passed out. When I came to, I was disoriented and tired to make my way back to my car. Guess I hit my head on something or something like that because I still wasn’t feeling well and passed out.”
“Now is not the time for games Miss. If a crime happened the police have every right to know.” The male detective chimed in. Langston’s blood began to boil. She didn’t have to tell them anything. She didn’t owe anyone any explanation.
“I thought the police are supposed to protect and serve, not bully and intimidate. What’s your name and badge number sir?” Langston shot back.
The female detective intervened. “What my partner meant is that if something else happened miss, if someone really did hurt you, then you’d be doing the community a favor by speaking up, that way whoever did it won’t be able to hurt you or others again.”
Langston softened her tone a little. The female detective seemed like a nice, sensible woman. Too bad she was saddled with an idiot for a partner.
“Well ma’am, I’d be glad to oblige if I had a crime to report. I don’t think stupidity is a crime now days.”
The male detective and Langston stared each other down before he told the female detective it was time to go. Reluctantly, she followed suit. The doctor, on the other hand, stayed behind. He peeked out the room to make sure they were gone before engaging in conversation with Langston.
“Why’d you lie?”
Langston looked at him in shock. “How’d you know?”
“I know rape when I see it. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too much of it. The detectives were trying to help.” He replied.
“They didn’t seem very helpful. Especially that male one.”
“Cops can be cold, but they do mean well most of the time.” The doctor replied.
Langston chuckled to herself. She had very few interactions with cops in the twenty-two years she existed, but all had been unpleasant. Despite all the “cops are your friends” visits and lectures at school, they always seemed mean or arrogant. The ones she dealt with in the past were even worse.
Besides, Langston knew how it went. She watched Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. She saw the movies on Lifetime. Langston knew what would happen if she reported it to the police and she wasn’t ready to deal with that. She hoped it was all a bad dream that she hadn’t woken up from yet.
“Look, you don’t have to tell them the truth, but at the very least you should tell me. Tell me so I can help you.” The doctor said gently.
Langston was quiet for a moment. “I…I was raped.”
The doctor nodded. “I’m going to get a nurse. She’ll take a statement from you, just to keep on file and in case you do decide you want to file a report. You will get copies. Then the nurse will do a test to screen you for STDs including HIV. 90 days from now you’ll have to get another HIV test just to be sure. After she screens you, she’ll give you some pills and a shot. Then with your permission, we’ll do a rape kit. Is all that okay?”
Langston just nodded. She was still hoping it was all just a nightmare and she would wake up in her bed.
As the day wore on, it became more and more apparent that it wasn’t a nightmare. Telling her story to someone was almost enough to kill her. It shattered her soul. The sharp needle pierced her skin for the blood tests to find if she had any sexually transmitted diseases. The pills upset her stomach so much she wanted to throw up. The shot stung and burned.
Then there was the examination. They swabbed the bloodstains and the dirt off her body. Dirt was pulled from underneath her fingernails. They examined and scrapped her vagina for any evidence like hair and semen. It was one of the most painful and evasive experiences of her life. By the time she finished, she wished she was still stranded by that roadside fading away into nothing.
After several hours, Langston was able to leave the hospital. She wasn’t sure where to go or how she was going to get home. She didn’t have her phone or any money on her. They were all in her car. It was probably stolen over night. Langston thought it was a long shot, but she grabbed a phone book and decided to look someone up. To her surprise, there was only three Dominic’s Petruzzi’s in the phonebook. She reached the right one on the second try. Nicholas answered.
“Is this Nick?” Langston asked.
“Yeah, I’m Nicholas Petruzzi. May I ask who’s calling?” he asked.
“It’s Langston Wellman. I work at your uncle’s restaurant.” Langston replied.
Nicholas’s tone softened. “Langston, hey! Is everything okay? I’ve been trying to call you. Kathy has been blowing up my phone. She says you haven’t been at work.”
“No actually. Everything isn’t okay. I’m at the hospital.” Langston said slowly.
“The hospital? Oh my God! Are you okay?” Nicholas asked. His voice was filled with so much caring and concern that tears began to well up in Langston’s eyes.
“Yeah, I’m…doing okay. I need a ride back to my car though and my apartment. I didn’t know who else to call.”
“You stay put. Be right there.”
Langston looked around the gift shop while she waited for Nicholas, but got restless after fifteen minutes and went outside to wait. A couple minutes later, Nicholas pulled up in a shiny black BMW. He ran over to the passenger’s side and opened the door for Langston. She got in and he closed the door behind her. She jumped a little. Nicholas got in and slowly peeled off.
“Where’s your car?” he asked.
“Maybe three miles away from the restaurant. It may have been stolen or broken into. God only knows. It’s been there for almost two days now I guess.”
“God, are you okay? What happened? I was worried.” Nicholas replied as he looked over at her.
“I…I’d rather not talk about it.” Langston replied quietly.
Nicholas nodded. “Okay. For what it’s worth though Langston, I’m glad you’re okay.”
After a couple minutes, they arrived at Langston’s car. To her surprise, it was still there, but the driver side window was smashed. Langston gingerly opened the car door, and pieces of glass fell to the ground. There was also glass scattered on the seat. It looked like someone had tried to hotwire the car. Langston went over to the other side and unlocked the glove compartment. The would-be thieves were unable to open that. She pulled out her cell phone and wallet.
Langston didn’t notice at first, but Nicholas had popped the hood and began looking inside. When he emerged, he was covered in oil.
“What the hell happened? It looks like something exploded in here.” Nicholas said in disbelief.
“I thought the same thing.” Langston replied.
“Why didn’t you call me? I know all about cars. I could have helped. At least give you a lift to a tow shop.” Nicholas asked.
“I…It was late. I didn’t want you to think…” Langston trailed off.
Nicholas approached her. “Didn’t want me to think what Langston?”
She backed away. “I didn’t want you think…that I was…that I was…” tears began to stream from Langston’s eyes. Nicholas tried to get closer but Langston backed away. She tripped over herself and fell to the ground. She cried even harder. Nicholas tried to bend down to help her up, but she recoiled. He kneeled in front of her at a distance.
“Langston, what happened the other night?”
“I don’t want to talk about it okay?” Langston choked.
“Langston, please. I’m really worried about you right now. Something horrible must have happened that night. You can tell me. You can trust me.”
“Please, Nick. I don’t want to talk about it.” Langston replied.
“If I guess what happened, will you at least let me know that I’m right?” Langston didn’t answer. “I know your car broke down, and then someone…did someone hurt you?” Langston didn’t answer, so Nicholas continued. “Did…did someone rape you?”
Langston didn’t have to say anything. Her sobbing did all the talking for her. Nicholas got closer and touched her face. Langston flinched.
“I’m so sorry Langston, I am. I…I just wanna help you. Will you let me?” Nicholas was so kind and gentle that it was impossible to say no to him. She didn’t pull away this time when he went to embrace her. She let him hold her until tiny sobs escaped her lips.
Once she got herself together, Nick lead her back to the car and the pair drove to her apartment in silence.
“Do you want me to come inside? I could stay with you tonight if you want or you could grab some things and come to my uncle’s. Plenty of room.” Nicholas offered.
Langston shook her head. “No, I’ll be okay. Think I just need to be alone for awhile.”
She could tell Nicholas didn’t like that idea, but he had no choice but to respect Langston’s decision. “Okay. Take all the time you need. Don’t come back to work until you’re okay. If Kathy gives you any shit for it, call me. Hell, call me anyway, okay? Just to let me know you’re okay.” Nicholas replied.
She nodded. “Thanks, Nicholas. You’ve been…you’ve been great.” She opened the car door and got out. She slowly began to make her way to the door of her apartment.
He rolled down the window. “You take care of yourself. Call me in the morning! And remember, we’re not all assholes!” He called to her before slowly driving away. To Langston’s surprise, she cracked a smile.
When Langston got into her apartment, she peeled off her clothes in a toxic pile. She picked them up, placed them in an old grocery bag, and tossed them into her closet. Then she made a b line to the bathroom and got in the shower. Langston turned the water to as hot as she could stand it and began to scrub. No matter how much she scrubbed, she could still feel his fingertips and his mouth all over. She turned up the hot water. Langston scrubbed and scrubbed, but it seemed like the water couldn’t get hot enough. No matter how hard she scrubbed the filth remained. The next thing she knew her arms were bleeding and her skin red from all the self-abuse. At that moment, she figured it was best to get out.
She changed into a t-shirt and crawled into bed. Maybe when she woke up in the morning, she would return to her life. After all, this couldn’t be real. Langston hoped it was a dream. She prayed it was. In the morning, she would wake up. Although she wanted to believe it, she knew the moment that she closed her eyes it was a lie. This was real. This was really happening. Someone raped her.